If I have learned anything while attending a large institution (and I have…BELIEVE ME!) it is that pedestrians hate cars (and their drivers), cars (and their drivers) hate pedestrians, and everyone hates a bicyclist! Can we just talk about the rules of the road here for a second. Here are the main general understandings.
As a car/driver:
1. At a cross walk, you must yield to pedestrians.
2. When turning, EVEN IF you have a green light, the pedestrian has the right away.
As a pedestrian:
1. While you do have the right away, it is also your responsibility to check to see if a car is coming!
2. Once you have checked to see that the car sees YOU, cross efficiently.
3. The sign on the left means “walk” the sign on the right means “don’t walk”. Now that we have some of the general guidelines under our belts, let’s talk about the pedestrian vs car battle that commences at UT every time there is a class change. Sometimes during this class change, I am the driver, other times, I am the pedestrian. Here are my issues with whichever role I am not playing…
As a driver, I am very aware that at times, I, too, will be a pedestrian. Therefore, I try my hardest to say “what would I do as a pedestrian?” because if you’re the person that drives like it’s against the law to cross the street at a cross walk and are pissed that you have to stop because other people stopped, too, you’re a jerk. Plain. And. Simple.
First and foremost, as a pedestrian, I always obey the little man and the little hand signs. Little man means go, little hand means no. There is a three-way intersection on campus that students always try to cross the street when they’re not supposed to. It’s a T-intersection. Students try to cross the street when the little hand is up because they see cars stopped at the red lights. What they don’t realize is that the cars coming up the hill have a green light to turn…so as a pedestrian, when the little hand is up, if you’re walking in the middle of the road, it’s your own damn fault if you get hit because you shouldn’t have been in the road anyway. Part of me really wants to be that driver that nudges a pedestrian…not enough to hurt him…just enough to make him realize that he’s an idiot for crossing when IT’S MY TURN TO TURN! Follow the rules and you won’t get hurt. So…in this instance, as a car/driver, I say “don’t walk unless you have the little man sign!” Period. End of discussion. As a pedestrian, I refuse to walk across the street unless I have the little man because at times like these, when I’m on my soapbox, I want to be able to say without a doubt that I follow all the rules. Therefore, I am not a hypocrite. At a cross walk where there is no little man/little hand sign, it is then up to me (a driver) to see you, make eye contact with you, and stop at the cross walk. If you hold up your end of the deal (make eye contact with the driver) I’ll hold up my end of the deal (stop and allow you to cross)…regardless of the hurry that I am in. Okay? HOWEVER, if you act like nobody else in the world exists and step out onto that cross walk without checking to see whether or not you’re going to die, believe it or not, it’s NOT MY FAULT if you die!
I don’t know if you know this or not, but it takes cars a little bit of time to slow down and come to a complete stop. So…if I’m ten feet from the cross walk and I didn’t realize you were going to cross the street (you know those people who walk like they’re gonna go straight and then all of a sudden turn to cross the street?) then I cannot stop for you. Rule number one (as stated above) look both ways, dammit!
In regards to the second pedestrian rule (cross efficiently), if a driver is stopped for a pedestrian, that pedestrian better do his best to cross the street as fast as he/she can. I will wait as long as I need to but my patience runs reeeaaally thin when you get these basketball players who think they’re the best thing since sliced bread and they walk as slowly as possible across the street. I could cross the street four times in the time it takes them to cross the street once. And they have long legs because they’re basketball players. I’m short! But I guarantee you I walk faster than they do. Don’t be a-holes because you’re an athlete and you think you should be. Again, as a driver, I just want to nudge them.
As a pedestrian, I will hold up my end of the deal. I will not cross unless I have the little man, I will make sure you know that I’m going to cross the street at a cross walk that doesn’t have a little man, and you know what? I’ll even thank you for letting me cross the street. But you know what pisses me off? The cars that act like you shouldn’t be crossing the street. Period. Ever! What the heck is that about? Let’s say, for instance, that you are crossing a five-lane street – two lanes going north, two lanes going south, one turn lane. And let’s say that three cars are stopped to allow pedestrians to cross…and then all of a sudden, Mr. Maniac comes through and acts like all of the other cars are stupid to allow people to cross the street. WHY?! If you were a pedestrian in that situation, Mr. Maniac, I bet you ANYTHING that you would be pissed off at the you who is driving that car.
That’s another thing that drives me crazy — people who act one way as a pedestrian and act another way as a driver…you’re both things, people! YOU DO BOTH!
As you can tell…this is something that I’m very passionate about…..
Until tomorrow, dear BFs!